My mother and I had a very interesting conversation last night. It all started when I told her about something my academic counselor told me. He informed that, if i needed it, he could get me in touch with the disability resource center. This shouldn’t have been a revelation, but it was.
I began to think about myself as being disabled. For some reason it never clicked with me that I might be disabled due to my multiple mental illnesses. I know it’s wrong, but when I think of disability I think of people like my mother and ex-husband who have physical issues that prevent them from walking and doing other things. My mental illnesses never seemed that serious to me.
I know objectively that I’m wrong as all hell. Right now I’m under the care of three medical professionals, I go to therapy every two weeks, and I’m on three different medications.Without all of that, I’m a mess. I’m able to care for my children, but everything else gets neglected.
With my medication, I feel like a person again. My symptoms are still there and I believe they always will be. The thing is, they’re not as severe as they were without the medication and therapy. That kind of scares me. I’ve reached that point where I feel relatively “normal” so it’s easy for me to trick myself into thinking that I don’t need any of it anymore.
That’s where the conversation with my mother comes in. I told her all of this and she looked at me funny. She reminded me that of course mental illness counts as a disability because it hinders you just as much as arthritis or any other physical ailment. She even told me that even though I am “better” in some respects, I still have moments where things outside of the bare necessities get neglected.
In her admittedly unprofessional opinion, I am a disabled person just like her. It’s not a bad thing or a good thing, just something I recently really realized. I’m always finding out new things about myself and this is one of them.